Grundig G3 discontinued, Tecsun PL-880 on the way

The Grundig G3 shortwave radio.

The Grundig G3 shortwave radio.

Not really a surprise, but I’ve confirmed that the Grundig G3 has been discontinued. They are still available, for the moment, from Universal Radio and online sources like Amazon.com. I would not advise buying from Amazon as I’ve received numerous complaints that they’ve shipped faulty units. Universal Radio, on the other hand, is testing each an every G3 leaving their shop.

With the exit of the G3, this leaves Grundig with the following selection of shortwave portables:

TecsunPL-880Box

Tecsun PL-880

Tecsun, meanwhile, is adding to their extensive line of shortwave portables. Indeed, this morning, W4ASZ comments:

“I found this link courtesy of the manly men at Herculodge :

http://tecsunradio.com/2013/09/14/new-arrival-tecsun-pl880-fm-radio-dsp-stereo-speaker-coming-soon/9030

Looking pretty good !”

I agree and I do feel cautiously optimistic about the Tecsun PL-880. Could it be my new travel radio? Though I still happily travel with the Grundig G3, Sony ICF-SW7600GR and Tecsun PL-380, a guy can’t have too many radios to choose from!

I’ll plan to review the PL-880 once it’s available. I’m particularly interested in seeing how it stacks up against the venerable Tecsun PL-660.

Stay tuned!

SWLing in Belize City: comparing the Grundig G5 and G3

G3AndG5BelizeFor the past week, I’ve been traveling:  this time, in the inner-city section of Belize City on behalf of Ears To Our World, where we’ve been working with ETOW’s partner organization, The Belize Council for the Visually Impaired (BCVI).  I had the honor of working with a group of visually-impaired and blind children, giving each a self-powered shortwave radio, along with instruction on its use.

One of our talented advisory board members, David Korchin (KC2WNW)–also an avid SWLer–met me on this recent adventure. One afternoon, we found a moment to pull out our portable radios.  Turns out, he had brought his Grundig G5 while I had my Grundig G3. So we sat back to listen: to broadcast stations (including RRI and REE), to ham radio communications, and to some medium wave stations, including Radio Reloj on 790 kHz. Some great radio listening, by the way.

It was interesting to observe that in almost every case, the G3 had a slight edge on the G5. The G3 noise floor was slightly lower, and audio characteristics slightly better, than the G5’s. Where the G3 really had an edge, though, was on single-side band, where its selectivity was far superior to that of the G5.

With that said, if you purchase a G3, be sure to check out  your unit’s performance thoroughly–and keep your receipt. When Amazon last posted a sale on the G3, we had several reports of faulty units (check out the comment thread in this post). Though I cannot confirm this, I suspect these may be among the final units of the G3 production line.  Choose carefully, and you’ll enjoy a great radio.

By the way, I’ve always had good luck purchasing through Universal Radio.

Is Amazon.com selling used, defective Grundig G3’s?

Amazon GrundigG3-001After posting the Grundig G3 deal from Amazon.com last week, many of you sent a message saying that you had snatched one up at that excellent price. However, readers Gary and Dave will be sending theirs back.  Here are their comments:

From Gary:

I received my $52 Grundig G3 today. Unfortunately, it appears to have been a re-sold defective unit. The whip antenna is bent, MW AM sensitivity is far worse than my Sony 7600GR, there is lots of internal noise on MW AM, and sync locks only on the strongest stations (and 1 kHz low).

From Dave:

Well, when I got to it it was up to $59 but that’s still a great deal so I snagged one.  It arrived today.  I suspect like Gary (above) that it was a returned unit.  Lots of scuffs and signs of use.  So… I’ve sent it back to Amazon asking for a replacement.  We’ll see what shows up.  I see now that it’s selling for $96.    I would hate to think that Amazon would be selling off returned stuff at a discount and yet presenting it as new.

Gary and Dave, I certainly hope that Amazon replaces your G3s with new-in-box units; I expect they will. These G3s were certainly advertised as new and sold by Amazon.com (not anther vendor). Let us know if you get a proper replacement.

Any one else experience the same problem from this Amazon sale? Please comment.

[Update: Also check out this thread on the Herculodge. Thanks, Gary.]

Excellent price for Grundig G3 at Amazon

GrundigG3Thanks to both Mike and Gary for pointing out that the Grundig G3 is currently $47.21 with free shipping at Amazon.com.

That is the lowest price I’ve ever seen for this excellent shortwave portable. I’ve noticed that the price has actually fluctuated over the past 24 hours, but I haven’t seen it higher than $52.46.

Click here to view the Grundig G3 on Amazon.com.

Grundig G3 on sale at Universal Radio

The Grundig G3 shortwave radio.

The Grundig G3, one of my favorite full-featured portables, is now on sale at Universal Radio for $89.77.

The G3 would make an excellent gift for someone in your life who is interested in shortwave radio. I recently updated my review of this radio and even included it in our annual gift recommendations.

Not sure how long this sale will last.

Three years (and counting!) with Grundig G3

My trusty Grundig G3 (Click to enlarge)

It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been over three years since I published my first review of the Grundig G3 shortwave radio. My initial impressions were mostly positive, and since then, the G3 has become a staple in North America and a fixture in my radio collection. I bought one of the very first G3s in production in the summer of 2009, and about a year ago, I replaced it with a current model.

So, what do I think of it now? After having two different production-run models and traveling with my G3s for over three years?

The G3 now

I have to admit, I continue to love this radio.  In fact, if you write me an email inquiring about a good portable shortwave radio in the $100 price range, you can bet that I will still recommend the G3.

The G3’s biggest competitors (roughly in the same price range) are the Sony ICF-SW7600GR and the Tecsun PL-660. I may very well review them all side-by-side in a portable showdown in the near future–but until then, it’s worth noting that the G3 is the least expensive in this crowd, and is simply an excellent performer for the price.  So I just can’t hesitate to recommend it.

Why do I like the G3?

Quite simply, the G3 features the following:

  • Superb shortwave sensitivity and selectivity for this class of portable
  • Effective sync lock (that is, if you adjust the frequency 1 kHz below the actual frequency with sync engaged)
  • Tuning is simple, fast and ergonomic
  • Adaptive tuning wheel–mounted on the right side–keeps speed with your thumb; it’s a band-scanning demon!
  • Sync can be adjusted for USB or LSB
  • Audio, via built-in speaker, is pleasant
  • Line-in and line-out
  • Excellent backlighting
  • RDS on the FM band–a handy feature when traveling
  • Not to mention, all that I mention in my first impressions post!

Simply put, the G3 functions as a portable shortwave radio should. It’s easy to tune, great to listen to, it functions well, has SSB and line out, has an external antenna jack, has two well-apportioned filters (wide/narrow), and still manages to be relatively inexpensive.

Perfect?  Well…almost. Though I never use the Air band, and I rarely use the MW (medium wave) band (mainly for DXing), many reviewers and critics of the G3 point to less-than-stellar performance in these areas.

I’ll admit, the Air band is a nice add-on, but is certainly no reason to buy the G3. I find MW listening quite pleasant and I’ve certainly heard a little DX on it, but it probably doesn’t compare to some of the well-known ultralight radios which handle the MW amazingly well.

And a couple of years ago, some reviewers complained of quality problems; I assume these were associated with specific production runs. As I’ve had two radios from two different production runs and have never experienced a quality-control issue, I must have been luckier in obtaining solidly-produced units.

Perhaps it was my recent review of the Degen DE1129 that made me realize that many of the newer, smaller portables add features, but toss out many of the basics I expect from a shortwave radio. In other words, the things that make a radio pleasant to use, like ergonomics, performance, and an intuitive design.  The G3 has these in trumps.

So, if you’re sitting on the fence about a $100 shortwave radio, I would snag the G3. I did–and haven’t looked back.

NOTE: At time of this posting, Universal Radio is selling the G3 with a Grundig Mini400 for $99.95 US. I have no idea how long this promotion will last, but I certainly believe it’s a good deal. Check it out…

The Grundig Globe Traveler G3–now shipping

Grundig G3 Voyager

Grundig G3 - Now shipping

Universal Radio has announced, on their product page, that the Grundig G3 is now shipping. I’ve already ordered one to review.

Pricing is $149.95–a price point similar to the Grundig G5 (which no longer appears in Grundig’s product line). Through Universal, you actually get a Grundig AN200 indoor antenna as a bonus–currently the best deal I could find amongst retailers. See our previous post regarding the Grundig G3 for additional information, and check out Universal’s product page. We will post new info on the G3 as it becomes available.

UPDATE: Universal is now offering a free Grundig AN200 antenna with the G3 purchase ($149.99).

UPDATE: Click here to see our initial G3 review.